Saturday, August 18, 2007

On Imam's threat to Taslima Nasreen at Kolkata rally

At a rally in Kolkata, the Imam of Tipu Sultan mosque reportedly fixed a reward on Taslima Nasreen's head.

Another Imam asked her to leave the country within a month while yet another speaker gave her just a fortnight.

But the statement of Noor-ur-Rahman Barkati, the Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque, deserves to be condemned.

We surely don't need such Imams. Indian democracy gives us ample freedom to stage demonstrations and protests, submit memorandums to the officials and politicians, approach courts and other forums if you feel that somebody has insulted you.

The promise of cash reward to a person for executing the death threat is absolutely intolerable. And when it comes from an Imam, it is really unfortunate.

Haji Yaqub sought publicity through a similar announcement sometime back. But he was a politician unlike Barkati, who is a religious person. Also, such statements tarnish the image of the community, which is under intense media scrutiny.

A section of Muslims appear baffled by the criticism of such actions. They feel it is an issue concerning Muslims alone and doesn't hurt the feelings of Hindus or other communities.

A person like Pravin Togadia who issues an open threat to Muslims and says that the minority community should be 'economically boycotted' doesn't invite any criticism from media but a Muslim who speaks out when it comes to his religion and that too against a foreigner [not an Indian], he is castigated.

The action of MIM leaders in Hyderabad was condemnable but it was surely not a 'murderous attempt' as English press [and even Taslima Nasreen] claimed.

The Muslim organisations must devise a strategy and ensure that nobody is allowed to issue such threats. Togadia's rabid hate-speak doesn't give license to issue irresponsible statements to anybody else.

Sanity must prevail.

Latest update:

The Darul Uloom Deoband has termed illegal the statement of Barkati at the Kolkata protest and said that any 'fatwa' or statement for execution of a person is unlawful and against the Islamic tenets.

Deoband Ulema including Mufti-e-Aazam Maulana Khurshid Alam, Naib Mohatamim of Seminary Mufti Ahsan Qasmi and Mufti Muhammad Arif, criticised Barkati. In a joint statement the trio said that there is no right to any clergyman to issue such decrees in a democratic set up like India.